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Taking Charge: Electric cars hailed as cost-effective, increasingly convenient vehicles

WESTPORT — When Bruce Becker leaves his barn-style home each morning, he starts what some consider the commute of the future.

He unhooks his BMW ActiveE from the charger wired to solar panels on his roof. Settling into the driver’s seat, he taps a button that makes his car purr about as loud as a tiny kitten. Finally, he steers the quick-to-accelerate, easy-to-handle sedan 10 miles to his architecture firm in Fairfield — where he plugs it back in to a public charger.

“It’s as much fun to drive as any car I’ve ever had,” he said.

It’s also as cheap to drive a car as he’s ever had. That became more apparent last week, when the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled its “eGallon” calculator, an online tool that compares the price of powering electric cars to fueling similar models that are gasoline powered.

Across the nation, it costs an average of $1.14 to bring an electric vehicle the same distance that $3.65 of gasoline brings a standard model, according to the calculator. In Connecticut, where electricity is more expensive, the electric vehicles use about $1.70 worth of energy to go as far as a $3.58 gallon of gasoline takes a regular car.


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